Today’s news:

Whitestone auto repair training facility ready to roll

Representatives from the association, known as GNYADA, walked Borough President Helen Marshall through the new facility to show her the progress they had made since breaking ground in November 2003.The new building, at 18-02 Whitestone Expressway, will serve as a training center for student mechanics interested in learning the technical and computer aspects of the ever-changing automotive industry."Today every family has three cars and one is an SUV," Marshall joked.The 90,000-square-foot school, designed by the same architect who drew up the plans for the Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology at LaGuardia Airport, is slated to open in May."They can earn a really good living," GNYADA President Mark Schienberg said about the job prospects for mechanics.The new center will hold automotive seminars, conferences and training sessions and be home to Lincoln Tech, a post-secondary training school. The GNYADA runs the annual New York International Auto Show at the Javits Center.The Lincoln Tech training school will be the first of its kind in the nation. Nowhere else has an automotive association partnered with a technical school to bring a training center on its own grounds, GNYADA boasts.At the groundbreaking in 2003, GNYADA Chairman Marvin Suskin said the idea for a training center originated about 18 years ago when the association built its headquarters in College Point.The GNYADA center, a curvaceous, silver building, is kitty-corner to the new training facility. The buildings share a modern, sleek, titanium look.During the construction of the new school, Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) held a rally because trucks were allegedly using a rear gate to access the site, thereby disrupting traffic in the residential neighborhood behind the corporate park.Avella, a local priest and an officer from the 109th Precinct joined forces to complain about the use of the residential roads behind the site, which is at the intersection of 15th Avenue and 141st Street.That rally was the only one held of its kind. Since then there have been no public protests about the project. The building is scheduled to open to students in May.Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

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